Looking Up! Celebrate the Fourth with Lofty Pyrotechnics

MBA volunteer Cani Adan and friends.

The climax of Moorhead’s Fourth of July will have everyone craning their necks to see the sky light up with the ultimate local pyrotechnic salute to America – higher and brighter and louder than ever.

The Moorhead Business Association is, for the seventh year, sponsoring Fargo-Moorhead’s biggest and brightest fireworks display just after dusk on Monday. Christened the “Moorhead Proud 5656OOH & AAH,” the rockets will flare from Horizon Shores Park on the east side of the city – a wide-open stage for the lofty aerial display that can be spotted all over the metro area and surrounding countryside, foliage permuting.

“We’ve heard that people can see it from Highway 10 as far away as Glyndon,” says Sheri Larson, the MBA’s executive director. “If you live in one of the more open neighborhoods, you may be able to watch the sparkle and hear the bangs from a comfy chair in your own back yard.

The annual fireworks extravaganza has taken on a higher profile since 2020, since it moved from Alex Nemzek Field at Minnesota State University Moorhead to the park on the east edge of the city. The move was originally necessitated by COVID restrictions, which eliminated the close contact of watching the show from the bleachers. That year, families eyed the skies from the comfort of cars parked in the plentiful lots surrounding the area. They liked it. So did neighbors far and near, who could watch from the isolated splendor of their patios.

At the same time, the nature of the fireworks chosen for the display by Twin Cities specialist RES Pyro, which has staged the Moorhead shows for nearly 30 years. “They’re bigger and higher, now that the producers don’t have to play to the grandstand,” she explains.

Horizon Shores Park is the epicenter of the event. Under the watchful eye of the Moorhead Fire Department, the park will be cleared of “civilians” starting at 3 p.m. so the producers can set up the artillery-like banks of awe-inspiring pyrotechnics. A team of 15 to 18 pioneers will be cruising the area to keep the curious at bay and enforce safety-centered parking resolutions. Traffic will be blocked off along 40th Avenue and 24th Street.

But there’s parking a-plenty. Two organizations are sponsoring VIP parking and family-centered events beginning at 7:30. The Moorhead Legacy Education Foundation is running the lots around Horizon Middle School. For a fee of $10 – destined to support scholarships for local youth – families begin arriving at 7:30 for a festive Fourth experience. During daylight, the lot will host a mini version of Moorhead Cruise Night, with classic car enthusiasts showing off their wheels. Northern Brain Freeze will serve up chill treats from its truck; others are also expected. Guests can play lawn games and enjoy the perfect Minnesota evening until the big show begins at about 10:30.

The Lotus Center and Minnesota REC (Recovery Engaged Communities) sponsor their own VIP event in the parking area around the Moorhead Career Academy. Ice cream and tacos will be available, along with a bounce house for youngsters. Like MLEF’s event, admission is $10 beginning at 7:30.

A fireworks display wouldn’t be complete without patriotic music. Once again, that soundtrack can be tuned in on radio station BOB 95 FM.

“There’s something special about the breathless anticipation of that first boom and blast of color as the darkness settles in,” Larson observes. “You can’t miss the joy on everyone’s faces. You can hear them actually say ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah.’ It’s magical.”

Major sponsors of this year’s MBA celebration are American Crystal Sugar, BNSF Railway, Sanford Health, the Lotus Center and Xcel Energy.

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